Employers often turn to EU migrants as they have the experience and commitment “needed to support growth”, a recent report from the CIPD, a professional body for HR and people development, has found.

The report – The growth of EU labour: assessing the impact on the labour market – shows that organisations who employ EU migrant workers are more likely to report business growth over the last two years (51%) compared to organisations that don’t (39%).

Of the 1,000 British employers surveyed, just 12% said they recruited migrant workers because they have lower expectations about pay and conditions, contrary to popular assumptions.

The report shows the main reason UK organisations employ migrant workers is because of a “difficulty in attracting UK-born candidates to fill unskilled or semi-skilled jobs.” 26% of employers expressed this as their primary concern.

Gerwyn Davies, the CIPD’s labour market adviser and author of the report, said:

“What we have seen through the report is that migrants, particularly EU8 migrants – countries that joined the EU in 2004 – tend to be older, 25 and above, more experienced, and they are concentrated in the same sectors and same jobs as young people.

“Naturally, an employer is going to favour somebody with more skills, who is older, than somebody who doesn’t have the same experience and qualifications.”

The report also found businesses employing migrant workers are more likely to offer work experience, internships and apprenticeships to young people.

“Sophisticated employers are using migrant labour to complement their high level strategies, or high cost strategies to help their businesses grow,” Davies said.

“HR should see migrant labour as part of a committed and productive workforce, but also shouldn’t take their eye off the future pipeline.”

Photo by Matt May